our books

Bringing Meditation to Life

108 Teachings on the Path of Zen Practice

Zen teacher, monk, and combat veteran Claude AnShin Thomas shares his experiences and insights into how Zen teachings and practice can move off the meditation cushion and into everything we do, transforming all aspects of our lives.
Presented in 108 short, to-the-point, provocative chapters, this book offers essential instruction on sitting meditation practice and how it can inform our relationships, communication, conflicts, peace work, and more. Interspersed throughout the book are some of the author’s favorite quotes from Zen literature.

AnShin touches on such topics as:

  • Living the Buddhist precepts
  • Coping with uncomfortable emotions such as fear, guilt, and shame
  • Embracing not knowing
  • The simple yet powerful practice of bowing
  • How to find peace with our unpeacefulness

Drawn from public talks and earlier writings, Bringing Meditation to Life distills the essence of Claude AnShin’s approach to Zen practice.

“Claude AnShin distills the wisdom he has earned through the practice of meditation and a remarkable life devoted to the dharma, peacemaking, and serving others. This is a book, and a rare teacher, worthy of our trust.”
Charles Johnson, winner of the National Book Award and author of Turning the Wheel: Essays on Buddhism and Writing

“A simple, straight-forward invitation to go beyond using meditation as a tool and instead dwell in meditation until it pours from your skin and scents your breath—becoming the foundation by which you take action in everyday life.”
Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Zen priest and author of The Deepest Peace and The Way of Tenderness

“Shorn of mystification and cultural accretions, this is an elegant book which I recommend to students new to Zen and to those who wish to go deeper.”
Hozan Alan Senauke, abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, author of The Bodhisattva's Embrace: Dispatches from Engaged Buddhism's Front Lines

“This book is a must read for anyone walking the path of peace and justice.”
Genjo Marinello, abbot of Chobo-ji Zen Temple, Seattle

“Wise and wonderful, this book is a potent source of inspiration and guidance for anyone interested in healing from trauma and moral injury, transforming ‘negative’ emotions and feelings, finding ‘peace in our unpeacefulness,’ and pursuing a more meaningful way of life.”
Camillo Mac Bica, PhD, author of Beyond PTSD: The Moral Casualties of War

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Barnes and Noble

Buy from

Buy from Bookdepository- free international shipping

Buy eBook from Apple

Buy eBook from Kobo

At Hell's Gate

A Soldier's Journey from War to Peace

In this raw, personal narrative, Claude Thomas describes his service in Vietnam, his subsequent emotional collapse, and his remarkable journey toward healing. At Hell's Gate is not only a gripping coming-of-age story but a spiritual travelogue from the horrors of combat to the discovery of inner peace—a journey that inspired Thomas to become a Zen monk and peace activist who travels to war-scarred regions around the world. "Everyone has their Vietnam," Thomas writes. "Everyone has their own experience of violence, calamity, or trauma." With simplicity and power, this book offers timeless teachings on how we can all find healing, and it presents practical guidance on how mindfulness and compassion can transform our lives.

This expanded paperback edition features:

●      Discussion questions for reading groups

●      A new afterword by the author reflecting on how the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are affecting soldiers—and offering advice on how to help returning soldiers to cope with their combat experiences

“Written with relentless courage and utter compassion, this account of violence and transformation is one of the most amazing and wonderful stories I’ve ever read.”
—Michael Herr, Vietnam war correspondent, screenwriter, and author of Dispatches

"Claude Anshin Thomas has been an inspiration to me. Our world urgently needs to listen to him tell of his life in war and then in peace."
—Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior

"In these strange times, when fear and aggression often seem to be the only responses we can imagine to a perceived threat, this powerful book provides an honest, open-hearted, and very moving testimony to the power of Buddhist practice to break this cycle."
—George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo

"Thomas's journey from the killing fields of Vietnam to the path of peace and pilgrimage testifies to his—and our—powerful urge to awaken. At the same time, this is not a pretty story. Anshin Thomas has lived in hell, knows its smell and taste, and continues to confront it every day of his life. Yet he remains undeterred in his work to make peace in himself and the world at large." —Tetsugen Bernie Glassman

"A powerful, wise, and genuinely profound spiritual odyssey from the insanity of violence (in the world, within ourselves, and in the assumptions of American culture) to the peace and compassion of mindfulness practice."
—Charles Johnson, winner of the National Book Award for Middle Passage

"This is a book of great power. Thomas's story has the power to heal, to inspire, to teach."
—John Laurence, former CBS News correspondent and author of The Cat from Hué: A Vietnam War Story

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Shambhala Publications

Buy eBook from Apple